MIS - Understanding Information Systems

Introduction

In today’s information and communication age, there is a constant reference to information systems and management of information systems. In the digital age data, storage and retrieval are done through various systems and interfaces.

Information System

An information system, therefore, can be defined as set of coordinated network of components which act together towards producing, distributing and or processing information. An important factor of computer based information system is precision, which may not apply to other types of systems.

System

In a system, network of components work towards a single objective, if there is lack of co-ordination among components, it leads to counterproductive results. A system may have following features:

  • Adaptability: some systems are adaptive to the exterior environment, while some systems are non-adaptive to the external environment. For example, anti-lock braking system in car reacts depending on the road conditions, where as the music system in the car is independent of other happening with the car.

  • Limitation: every system has pre-defined limits or boundaries within which it operates. This limits or boundaries can be defined by law or current state of technology.

Information

Common definition of information is data. However, data is no true information. Data gets its meaning and significance if only it is information. Information is represented with data, symbols and letters.

Information has following properties:

  • Objective: One of the key properties of information is its objectiveness. Objective information is a key component of any modern scientific research.

  • Subjective: Set of information which is useful to science may be abstract or irrelevant for others. Therefore, information is subjective also.

  • Temporary: Information is temporary with every update in the database.

Representation of Information

Information is represented with help of data, numbers, letters or symbols. Information is perceived in a way it gets represented. Decimal system and binary system are two ways of representing information. The binary circuits of computers are designed to operate under two states (0,1).

Organization of Information

The way in which information is organized directly affect the way the information is managed and retrieved.

The simplest way of organizing information is through linear model. In this form, data is structured one after another, for example, in magnetic tapes, music tapes, etc.

In a binary tree model, data is arranged in an inverted tree format where it assumes two values.

The hierarchy model is derived from a binary tree model. In this model, branch can assume multi-value data, for example in the UNIX operating system this model is used for its file system.

The hypertext model is another way of organizing information; World Wide Web is an example of this model.

Random access model is another way of organizing information. This model is used for optimum utilization of available computer storage space. Here data is stored in specified location under direction of the operating system.

Networking Information

Information is networked through network topology. The layout of all the connected devices, and it provides virtual shape or structure to the network is known as network topology. The physical structure may not be representative of network topology. The basic types of topology are bus, ring, star, tree and mesh.

The above topologies are constructed and managed with help of Hubs, Switches, Bridges, Routers, Brouters and Gateways.

Securing Information

Security of information as well as an information system is critical. Data back-up is on the way through which Information can be made secured. Security management for network and information system is distinct for different setup like home, small business, medium business, large business, school and government.


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Management Information System